Arts Health at St Vincent’s: A Legacy Continues


The Sisters of Charity and St Vincent’s Hospital have long understood the importance of art in healing. From the beginning, the Sisters gratefully accepted paintings, drawings, textiles, sculptures and other works, which were displayed in Hospital wards, corridors and gardens, bringing comfort and solace to patients and staff.

In 1988, the Sisters established a volunteer Art Committee made up of representatives from art institutions, artists, staff and the Sisters themselves. The committee guided the acquisition of artworks, developing an outstanding collection. Members also focused on developing creative programs using art and music to support patient health and well-being. Committee members working tirelessly over the years included Katarina Cvitkovic, Peter and Nettie Joseph, Anne Kearney, Maureen McCabe OAM, Dominic Maunsell, Andrea Nield, Gary Nicholls, Bernard Ollis, Faith Wilson, Dr Alan Concannon, Reg Richardson, Kim Vaughan, William Wright and Sisters Sr Marie Haren rsc (dec), Sr Rose Holman rsc, Sr Anthea Groves rsc OAM and Sr Deirdre Hickey rsc. The committee’s contribution was enormous but it was clear that a reliable source of funds was essential if St Vincent’s was able to deliver arts health programs on a consistent basis.

A source of funding came from the estate of Neville Holmes Grace. Mr Grace was a long-term supporter of St Vincent’s and a patron of the arts, who had made a generous bequest to the Foundation. This allowed an endowed program to be established in his name, which funded the appointment of a part-time curator, Alice McAuliffe. Alice was appointed in 2019 and continues to guide the St Vincent’s collection and develop art health programs, supported by an enthusiastic volunteer Art Committee, who continue the legacy. The current committee includes Scientia Professor Jill Bennett, Deborah Burdett, Katrina Cashman and Barry Keldoulis.

If you’d like to hear more or would like to support our Arts Health program, please contact Linda Newtonlnewton@stvincents.com.au